Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ukulele: Picked a Berry Chord Chart

I made another chord chart for a song I used my berry storytime (write-up coming soon™) so, as promised, I am sharing it with all of you! This is a sweet little song about picking berries. You can add additional verses with different berries in them. Strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry are all great options!

The song is to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine" which is in 3/4 time as noted in the bottom corner of the sheet. Keep that in mind when you choose a strum pattern. when I play it, I use D-DUDU.

Feel free to download the pdf from my google drive and use it for your own story times!

Monday, June 26, 2017

New Storytime Write-ups

Pretty soon I will be posting a huge backlog of storytime write-ups. Because these are older storytime plans, I probably won't go into much detail about with how it went or about which books and songs on the list that I ended up using for each storytime. I just want to get them all written up and posted ASAP so I can get back on track with my blog updates. I might end up doing less extensive write-ups in the future too and just post a list of books, songs, and rhymes for each theme so I can get the posts up more quickly. Hopefully this still works well for anyone who follows me. I figured it's better to get shorter posts up than let a backlog of drafts languish while I work on write-ups!

Ukulele: Random Song Activity


I finally mustered up the courage to start playing ukulele during storytime and it was magical! I am by no means a great ukulele player, but children's songs are quite simple to play and the kids and caregivers enjoy it even if you aren't great. When I brought out my uke for the first time the kids were enthralled. I think we could have probably done this activity for the entire storytime if I had wanted to. They were that into it! If you have a ukulele and haven't used it for storytime yet, do it! If you don't have a ukulele I definitely recommend getting one. I have a ukulele beginner's guide that I wrote after buying my first ukulele to help get you started. The ukulele I bought for myself is not the one I use for storytimes though. I was fortunate enough to have some grant money left over to buy a ukulele to keep at the library. I bought a durable polycarbonate ukulele from Outdoor Ukulele for my in-house uke. I'll do a review of their ukuleles later!

I came up with a really fun way to get the kids involved in the ukulele activity beyond just singing. Eventually I will be making a song cube, but for now I put icons representing each song in a bowl and have the kids pull one out to decide what we should play. Almost all of the songs I chose to use are pretty ubiquitous children's songs. Because they were such familiar songs, the kids could easily tell what the song was just from the simple icon on the paper.


I chose six different songs to use for this activity, though I'll come up with more to use in the future to help keep things fresh! The songs I used are:

  1. Pop! goes the Berry
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. I'm a Little Teapot
  4. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider
  6. Mary Had a Little Lamb
All of these songs can be played with just three chords: C, F, and G

Fingering charts from Coustii

In all of these songs you can replace the G chord with the G7 chord if you prefer it. I used to find G7 much easier to play than G. Some of these songs had G7 instead of G when I looked up the chords, but after practicing other songs, I find G easier to transition to, so I switched it for my preference. Use whichever you are more comfortable with! There will be songs where you can't switch G and G7 and still have it sound right, but I have yet to find a children's song where this is the case!

For chord charts for six different songs, click read more!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Storytime: Robots



~*1 Robot Lost his Head by Marc Rosenthal
*Bitty Bot by Tad McCanna
~*Hello, Robots by Bob Staake
~Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley
Junkyard by Mike Austin
Sometimes I forget You’re a Robot by Sam Brown

I'm finally finishing this write up though I did the storytime quite a while ago. Books marked with ~ were used for the toddler storytime and ones marked with a * were used for the preschool storytime. There are tons of great books about robots out there so this was a really fun storytime to do! I was inspired to do the theme when I saw Bitty Bot on on the return shelf waiting to be re-shelved in the children's area. It looked so cute and I thought there must be some other fantastic robot books out there. Hello, Robots has some great silly mishaps, so it's a lot of fun to read and have the kids tell you what the robots are doing wrong.

Click read more for extension activities

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I am very behind with my storytime write-ups currently. I have about three new themes to post about! May is a busy time of year with Summer Reading prep, as I'm sure you all know, so I've let my blogging fall to the wayside. I hope to get some new things up by this weekend and also update some old posts with new pictures.

This week, I may be making my ukulele debut at storytime, so we'll see how that goes! I'm pretty excited and I'l sure I'll have lots to write about that, if I can just find the time to do so!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Art in Action: Matisse

Before I started working in libraries, my background was in art and art education. I've been wanting to start a monthly art program here at the library for a while, and finally got to run my first one. I was looking for a catchy title and eventually decided to call it Art in Action! I hope the title helps emphasize the hands-on approach to learning art. Each month we will read about a different artist and then explore their style while creating our own works of art. The program is geared towards elementary and middle school students, so an older age range than would come to a typical storytime. I'm continually searching for programming that will be engaging for older kids as well.

For the first program, I wanted to do something fairy simple as far as what supplies we would need and something that could be adapted for a wide range of ages since I didn't know how many people to expect or what age group would come to the program. I chose to look at Matisse and focus on his later paper collage work. Older children could cut complex shapes, but young children could still participate by tearing paper if they weren't comfortable with scissors.



*Mr. Matisse and His Cutouts by Annemarie van Haeringen
*Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
A Bird or Two by Bijon Le Tord
Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Keesia Johnson
The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan

Books with a * are ones I read or used the most for the program, though I had all the books out and available for people to browse through for inspiration.

I was really pleased with the number of picture books available about Matisse. He made for a great first subject for my program! The first three books on this list focus exclusively on Matisse’s cut paper works, which were the works I wanted to focus on for this program. I especially like Matisse’s Garden because it has large foldout pages that show images of Matisse’s actual art and the illustrations are also cut paper, which was very inspiring for making our own collage art. A Bird or Two and Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors provide nice basic overviews of Matisse’s life and The Iridescence of Birds focuses on Matisse’s childhood and how his mother helped influence and inspire his creativity.

Click read more for my art project ideas and sample images.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flannelboard: Bunnies

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


I wanted a relatively simple flannelboard for this week because I didn't have a ton of time to make it. Thankfully, these bunnies were pretty simple overall! I used this for my bunny storytime. You will also see soon that I made some additions to the set to make use of it for another storytime too. I'm sure there are many additional songs and rhymes about bunnies that these little guys might be good for so I think I'll make good use of them in the future!

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Five Little Rabbits”

Five little rabbits sitting by the door.
One hopped away, and then there were four.

Four little rabbits under a tree.
One hopped away, and then there were three.

Three little rabbits drinking morning dew.
One hopped away, and then there were two.

Two little rabbits resting in the sun.
One hopped away, and then there was one.

One little rabbit isn’t any fun.
He hopped away to find the others,
and then there were none.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Storytime: Magic



Rabbit Magic by Meg McLaren
~*Anton Can do Magic by Ole K├Ânnecke
Hey, Preso! by Nadia Shireen
~Magic Box by Katie Cleminson
*Hedgehog’s magic Tricks by Ruth Paul
The Magic Hat by Mem Fox

My groups both skewed pretty young this week, so I kept to the simplest stories for them. The older group was able to pick up on the fact that Anton wasn't really magical, which was a fun discussion point. Hedgehog's magic Tricks was the favorite of the older group, especially when the animals brought out the cake and made it disappear. My group always likes talking about cake!

For more activities click read more!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Storytime Write-up Coming Soon!

I'm a little behind on getting all my storytime write-ups done because I've been super busy both at work and at home lately. I need to take pictures of my flannel for the bunny storytime still and post about my super fun magic themed storytime that I did last week. I did a lot of work for the magic storytime that I really want to share with everyone, so hopefully I can get that up within the next couple days. AS it gets closer to Summer and there are more programs I'm running at the library for Summer Reading, my posts my become less frequent, but I'll try to get them up as often as possible!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Storytime: Bunnies



Hop by Jorey Hurley
*The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits  by Douglas Florian
~*Everbunny Dance! by Ellie Sandall
~Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
~What Does Bunny See? by Linda Sue Park
Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro

Books marked with ~ were used for my toddler storytime, books marked with * were used for my all ages storytime. At my library though, there's very little different between the two storytimes as far as the ages that show up. They might as well both be all ages! Everbunny Dance! is one of my new favorite storytime reads. It's fantastic if you have a high energy crowd. There are not only lots of prompts to dance, sing, clap, and move around but also to be quiet and still. I loved this book so much, I'll probably do a full review of it later! This is one that I'll probably buy for my Storytime collection so I always have it on hand. Bunny's Book Club is really too long for my storytime group, it might work better for an older group during an outreach storytime, but it was too cute for me to not to include on my list of bunny books. The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits is a great book with rhyming text. The rhymes are always across two facing pages and there isn't a real plot, just a list of things bunnies like to do, which makes it very easy to skip pages if your group is squirmy and you want to make things go a little faster, like I did today. There are so many great bunny books available, which makes it a super fun theme for storytimes!

For extension activities, click read more.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Flannelboard: Rainbow Stew

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


This flannelboard was a lot of fun to make and to share. I've seen the flannelboard a few places, but I decided to add my own little addition to it with cream and clouds at the end of the rainbow. Happy little clouds make it look more complete and even more adorable! Sadly, it is the wrong time of year to find a cheap plastic cauldron to mix the rainbow stew in. Had I been thinking I might have been able to find one before St. Patrick's day, but as it is, there were none to be found. I just temporarily covered a big yogurt tub with black felt, but I'll keep an eye out for a cauldron come Halloween, or maybe I'll make a felt one! I used this for my colors storytime, but I hope to find other good themes to use it with in the future.

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

"Rainbow Stew"

(Tune: Jimmy Crack Corn)

Take an apple, put it in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest red you ever did see!

Take an orange, put it in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest orange you ever did see!

Take a banana, put it in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest yellow you ever did see!

Take a pear, pit in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest green you ever did see!

Take some blueberries, put them in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest blue you ever did see!

Take some grapes, put them in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest purple you ever did see!

Take some cream, put it in the put
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out now. What do you see? Two fluffy white clouds as happy as can be!

What did  we make with our rainbow stew?  A magical rainbow for me and you!

Source: Modified from Storytime ABCs

Storytime: Colors



~Brown Bear, Brown bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr
~Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood
*Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
Red is a Dragon by Roseanne Thong
~Freight Train by Donald Crews
Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

Books marked with a ~ were used for my toddler storytime and books marked with a * were used for my all ages storytime. I am finding that often my toddler storytime is pretty mellow and the all ages one tends to be much more high energy. Consequently, we usually read more books during the toddler one. I really wanted to read Red is a Dragon with my all ages group since it's a fun intorduction to some things from Chinese culture in addition to being a book of colors, but it isn't a high energy book the way Monsters Love Colors is so I went with that one first. The all ages storytime was slow to start so we only had time to read one book with all the other activities I had planned.

Click read more for extention activities.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Flannelboard: Chickens

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


This flannelboard is super cute and fun! I really love ones that have double sided pieces, it's almost like magic when you change them. I used this one for my chicken storytime. I had the kids help me count the eggs after I put each clutch on the board, so we counted to five twice and then to ten. I also made sure to count the chicks at the end of the rhyme since you don't want to count your chickens before they hatch!

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Ten Fluffy Chickens”
Five eggs and five eggs
(Add a clutch of eggs each time you say “five eggs”)
And that makes ten
Sitting on top
(Add the hen)
Is Mother Hen
Cackle cackle cackle
(Clap hands as you say Cackle!)
What do I see?
Ten fluffy chicks
(Flip over each clutch of eggs.)
Yellow as can be.

Source: Mel's Desk

Friday, March 24, 2017

Flannelboard: Spaceship

If I come up with more rhymes and songs to go with this set, the post will be updated to reflect that. If you have ideas for other ways to use the set, please share!


This flannelboard was super quick to make in comparison to some of my previous boards. I was originally going to use an astronaut themed board for this storytime, but I didn't have time to make five astronauts. I was sad that I might have to skip having a thematically appropriate flannelboard for my space storytime, but then I had the idea to do a "Mouse in the House" variation with moons and a spaceship. I was going to just make circles for the moons, but I always have to go all out so I gave them craters and faces too.

Songs, Rhymes, Games, and Fingerplays

“Where is the Spaceship?”

Spaceship, spaceship, we'll find you soon!
Are you behind the (color) Moon?

Source: I made this one up myself! Mouse in the House variations are always fun.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Storytime: Chickens



Five Little Chicks by Nancy Tafuri
~Count with maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!  by Lucy Cousins
Chicken Story Time by Sandy Asher
~Where, Oh Where, is Rosie’s Chick? by Pat Hutchins
*The Red Hen by Rebecca Emberly and Ed Emberly
~*Here a Chick, Where a Chick? by Suse MacDonald

Books marked with a ~ were used for my toddler storytime and books marked with * were used for my all ages storytime. Chickens are a fun theme. There are so many picture book options about them! Both Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep and Here a Chick, Where a Chick? have flaps to lift up and look behind. The kids defintiely wanted to help lift the flaps, which doesn't work well with large groups, but regardless, lifting flaps is fun! Where, Oh Where, is Rosie's Chick? went over really well. The kids were all laughing at silly Rosie not seeing the chick right behind her. I think I probably should have used this one in my all ages storytime too. They weren't as engaged with the two titles I chose. I thought Here a Chick, Where a Chick? would be a winner with the animal noises, but they weren't as into it today as they usually are.

Click read more for extension activities.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ukulele: Beginner's Guide

Recently, I decided to try and teach myself ukulele. I know many youth services librarians use ukulele during their storytimes and it is one of the easier instruments to pick up and learn. The cost of a ukulele also makes it much more accessible than many other instruments. I am definitely not to the point where I can play it for songs during storytime, having less than a week of practice, but hopefully it won't take me too long to get there! I am not any sort of authority on ukuleles but I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences so far in case they would be helpful to anyone else hoping to start with the instrument.

Storytime: Space



*Astro Bunnies by Christine Loomis
*I want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
~Zoo Zoom! by Candace Ryan
~Earth Space Moon Base by Ben Joel Price
Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! by Margaret Mayo
~Chicken in Space  by Adam Lehrhaupt

Books marked with ~ are ones I used for my toddler stoytime and books marked with * are ones I used for the all ages storytime. The toddler group was very small and not very active last week, so we read a lot more books than normal. Zoo Zoom! was fun because it had lots of animals, some unfamiliar, and animals are always great, but the kids were a little confused about what was happening at some points since the limited amount of text doesn't really explain what is going on. I had to do a lot of explaining for Earth Space Moon Base too. In general space related books have a lot of new vocabulary so be prepared to do a lot of explanation about what new words mean! Chicken in Space is not actually about space, but it does have some good space terms and I couldn't resist that cute cover. I really only read this one for the storytime because the kids were so calm and requested a longer book to finish out the day. I want to be an Astronaut was definitely the hit for the all ages storytime. One of the boys couldn't stop talking about it!

For songs and rhymes click read more.